Daily Inspiration #1 – The very first!
May 21, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Okay. Here goes something I’ve been intending to do for a while.
I’ve been browsing so many awesome things every day that I think it’s time I share them with everyone.
Let me try to keep this up regularly.
8 designs that inspired me today:
1. Columbia U Film Festival
What I hope WKW will be able to have some day in the not so distant future.
5 articles I read that were useful/inspiring:
1.Women In Web Design: Group Interview
Is it difficult for female designers to find their place in the design community?
I personally don’t believe it is difficult. Talent speaks much louder than gender. Good work is good work. I’ve never had any issues with being a woman in the industry, and I feel I’ve had the same opportunities as my male counterparts. Although, it is still disappointing to go to conferences and rarely see many female speakers. Is this because gender is still a factor in the industry, or is it simply because there are fewer of us?
However, I think part of the problem lies in the lack of willingness among many female designers to get involved in self-promotion. I believe as a whole that we don’t tend to bang the drum about our work as hard or market ourselves as strongly. In Jeffrey Zeldman’s article “Women in Web Design: Just the Stats,” he writes in the comments something that reinforces my thoughts on this:
More men brag than women; it seems to be a culturally learned behaviour. Several absolutely brilliant women I know cannot be persuaded to write or lecture or otherwise promote themselves… There’s a concensus that women, however smart or talented, are less likely than men to put themselves forward. We all miss out by not hearing their voices.
Without a doubt, the industry is male-dominated. For example, just in the UK, women make up only around 39% of those in the design industry (Design Council). I think this is mainly because Web design is still confused with IT in general. Many females feel you have to be a math, science or programming whiz to pursue it as a career and simply don’t believe they have the ability.
What should students and new designers focus on outside of their course work to advance in their careers?
It’s important to expand your knowledge to any areas that are related to design. Most design courses concentrate on the basics or on how to use the various pieces of software that are available. These are just basic tools for new designers, but they won’t make you a great designer.
Learn about art, layout and composition, and try to read at least one new book on design every month, or even one per week. Subscribe to design blogs such as Smashing Magazine and Webdesigner Depot, and never stop learning. Keep updating your knowledge whenever possible by attending conferences, reading books and magazines and becoming involved in the local artistic community. Try to become a well-rounded designer, not just an operator of Photoshop or another design software tool.
George Lois, the real-life inspiration for Don Draper in Mad Men, said it best:
“The computer has played a role in destroying creativity with Photoshop. Everybody thinks they’re a designer.”
While he may be generalizing a bit, I believe what is meant is that you can’t be a proper designer without understanding the fundamentals of art and design.
Know Your Stuff
One of the biggest challenges of forgoing a traditional education is to actually get an education at all.
Self-taught designers must be extremely well disciplined. In addition, they must have the resources to be able to study graphic design and learn any skills they will need. The Internet is both a blessing and a curse. We’re so used to finding everything instantly that we forget the importance of internalizing information.
Attention to detail is of utmost importance. People will judge you harshly because you don’t have a degree, so you have to show them why they are wrong. Know your design principles and practice them well, and the critics will shut up pretty quickly. In addition to tutorials and online information, read books on graphic design. Some recent research-based design books introduce new principles that are here to stay.
Like it or not, people have a bias for academia. You need to prove why being self-taught gives you an edge to better engage your audience. Don’t forget the importance of the portfolio as a tool to earn people’s trust in your skills. In addition to conventional projects, make sure to showcase work that is somewhat academic in nature and that shows off your knowledge of sound design principles.
College provides a unique bubble of responsibility-free time. Seriously. Think about it, at what other point in your life are you able to dedicate 100% of your focus towards becoming whatever you want to be? In college, self-improvement is your full time job.
College teaches you social skills, time management, and responsibility. Alright, so that sounds like something off a promotional brochure, but honestly, are you really mature enough (financially and socially) at 18 to hurdle into the professional world of web design/life in general?
Limit the number
If you can, try and keep it to about 6-10 good size projects. People don’t want to go through everything you have done and will probably make up their minds about you during the first 3 you show. Obviously if you don’t have much to show for any of them (e.g an individual logo) you could consider showing more projects.
Select your best
I can’t stress this one enough and you will hear the same thing from other people in the industry: Only select your best work and work you want to talk about. If you don’t love it or can’t talk about it endlessly, over and over, it will show and they won’t be interested. I know myself it’s tempting to fill out your portfolio with work that isn’t your best but shows other skills or types of client. But it won’t be long before you struggle to talk about them engagingly, and you will come across as not enjoying your work.
PHEW! Wow. Never knew putting together a post like this was so much work! Shall find a way to be able to do a daily inspiration entry more efficiently. But hopefully I’ll keep it up so expect more to come.